Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is probably the only nationally prominent politician who has actually starred in a video game: Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. Last year, under pressure from the state's Democratic legislature, Schwarzenegger signed bill AB1179, banning the sale or rental of violent video games to minors. That pressure came in part from Treasurer Phil Angelides, Schwarzenegger's Democratic challenger for governor, so it looks like Californians will have a Governor who backs these sorts of laws no matter what happens today.
Prediction: Schwarzenegger to win easily. State Senator Leland Yee, the bill's vocal sponsor, looks like he will also win re-election easily.
Senator Joe Lieberman has been an outspoken opponent of video game violence since the 1992 Senate hearings on the subject. More recently, he joined with Hillary Clinton to back the Family Entertainment Protection Act, which has yet to come to a vote. After coming within a few hundred votes of the vice presidency in 2000, Lieberman was handed a stunning primary defeat to challenger Ned Lamont months ago. Despite this, Lieberman is still running for senator as an independent and doing surprisingly well in the polls.
Prediction: Lieberman wins in a squeaker.
Governor Rod Blagojevich made headlines in gamer circles in 2005, when he pushed through and then signed the Safe Games Illinois act, banning minors in the state from renting or buying violent games. The law was overturned on constitutional grounds in December '05, leading opponents to charge that the governor was only looking for some electoral "razzle dazzle" from a law he knew had no chance of making it through the courts. To add insult to injury, the courts ruled that the state had to pay half a million dollars to reimburse the video game industry for court costs. Now there's a good use of taxpayer dollars.
Prediction: Blagojevich pulls it out by a small margin.
After commissioning and releasing a study showing that minors could easily obtain violent video games, Governor Jennifer Granholm signed law SB416, which was quickly struck down by the federal courts. Granholm also sent letters to retailers urging them not to sell the controversial 25 to Life and her office has pledged to "continue our efforts to protect kids from violent video games by working with retailers."
Prediction: Another squeaker, but Granholm pulls it out.
Senator Hillary Clinton is one of the leading national voices in "protecting" children from video game violence, introducing the Family Entertainment Protection Act and demanding an FTC investigation of Rockstar after the Hot Coffee scandal. Clinton is widely believed to be gearing up for a presidential run in 2008, and some see her efforts against video games as an effort to appeal to the "values voters" that many in the media consider the key voting block in recent elections. Clinton is poised to win big in this highly Democratic state, but the margin will likely be seen as a predictor of her nationwide political potential in two years.
Prediction: Clinton wins in a walk.